Welcome Home!

I’m certainly not the only person who does any traveling. In fact, we’re relatively pedestrian when it comes to seeing the world. However, our usual trips to the ocean, lake, or local tourist traps have been replaced with more adventurous excursions the past few years, and there are a great many “tips of the trade” I wish I had known from the beginning. For instance, an experienced traveler knows not to pack his phone and camera chargers in a checked bag. This little miscue cost me $90 worth of sundry cables, connectors, and extra batteries. An experienced traveler would also know better than to even attempt recovery from TSA, but I had no idea and wasted hours filling out forms, talking to idiots, arguing with liars, and trying to control my temper.

So, I thought since I haven’t done a top ten list in awhile, this would be the perfect subject to share with the world. I only hope this will reach you before it’s too late, and save you hours of grief and unwanted vacation stress. I call this list “Ten Things You Should Never Do Before, During or After a Vacation.” Keep in mind, the list consists of things that had yet to happen until this year’s trip on a seven day cruise to Bermuda.

1. Don’t let anyone use your car while you’re gone. It’s true that everyone will do their best to take good care of your pride and joy, but you could return to discover it’s been in two accidents. Not one. Two! (I still don’t understand it.)
2. Don’t forget to tell the bank you’re traveling. They’ll shut down your credit cards and you’ll be stuck telling a Cruise Director that you really do have the money. “Clean up on Deck 9.”
3. Don’t leave your things unattended on the beach. Several thousand dollars worth of camera equipment will be fine, but your umbrella will be long gone. Try explaining that to the attendant who has your $20 deposit.
4. Don’t forget to seek clarity when your bus driver says he’ll pick you up at the corner. There are many streets and many corners. Specificity is a must.
5. Don’t pack wet beach towels full of sand. It may deter TSA from doing a proper search, but you might also find them out of the plastic bag you meticulously packed them in. That being the case, everything in the luggage will be damp and smell like dead fish.
6. Don’t pack old underwear. The elastic won’t be sufficient and no matter how many weird gyrations you attempt, they’ll still wind up bunched halfway below your waist. Always pleasant while sitting on the steaming vinyl tour bus seat.
7. Don’t tell people not to call you on vacation. That will just encourage them. There seems to be no shortage of “really good reasons” to call once those roaming charges kick in. This is especially true if you’re overseas.
8. Don’t forget to run the garbage disposal before you leave. Inevitably, those you leave behind will be compelled to buy fruit-fly infested peaches that gleefully take up residence in the drain of your sink.
9. Don’t assume a squirrel won’t die on the porch while you’re gone. Definitely do assume that others will not dispose of the body no matter how decomposed it is. They’ll wait for you to return regardless of how bad it smells. “Welcome home!”
10. Don’t leave the bedroom door open while you’re gone. Your dog will miss you terribly and vomit all over the bedroom carpet. No one will bother to clean that up either.

Now I realize you are probably more experienced than we are, but the odds are that none of these things have happened to you – yet. Trust me – they will eventually rear their ugly heads if you’re not careful and very diligent. And yes, the dead squirrel smell lingers.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

See For Yourself

The top deck of a cruise ship at night is not the place for inspiration on the paranormal or related topics. This is a blog about those subjects, and readers don’t come here for the travelogue. Nevertheless, the number of stars you can see in the middle of the ocean really is outrageously mesmerizing. It conjures a place inside of you where words don’t work but understanding is complete. All I could do was sit there, and I thought I was beginning to learn a little more about myself; about my work; about life – just from looking. Just being there awakened something within me and somehow the mysteries of the universe didn’t seem so mysterious. I felt privy to something, and it made me want to share with others, but even before I tried, I understood that it just wouldn’t communicate.

I was right, of course, but I had to try anyway. You almost have to even though you realize that an inevitably inadequate narrative will only cause others to interpret a kind of catharsis instead; a purification or cleansing – medicine for a hectic, over-wrought life. Others won’t be able to comprehend the depth of the experience – not without seeing it for themselves. It would just sound overly emotional; an imperative regurgitation of the horrors of modern life that must have been required to right a lost and fickle psyche. But that’s not it. In fact, that’s insufferable hogwash, but it’s not their fault – I opened that can of worms, and no one would even think of such things if I hadn’t tried to explain something unexplainable.

However, we can share the sensory aspects of the experience. After all, city folk don’t ever see this many stars, so we can talk about that. It’s also legitimate to toss around platitudes and panaceas like peaceful and breathtaking; astonishing and serene. If one is extremely brave, you can attempt to deal with the majesty of it all. Good luck getting that across, but don’t even try to explain the almost deafening mental stream-of-consciously suppressed religious thought that so much quiet grandeur awakens. Don’t try to explain how you can almost feel one with the universe. No one will get that from a description. Most folks will be polite, but they will definitely have to see it for themselves before anything you try to say will make sense.

“Wait! We are talking about the stars, right.” Yes. And no, because it’s really all about simply knowing; about awareness. The stars are purely the catalyst – the conjuror, if you will. They place you in resonance with everything; allow you to remember; make it possible to simply “know” once again; get in touch with your own existence – without doubt or questioning. You simply absorb the spectacle, and your soul rejoices in the liberation.

See! I told you it’s not something one can communicate very well. But actually, I do see a parallel with the paranormal – you can’t successfully communicate those encounters either. With or without evidence, a personal paranormal experience exceeds the boundaries of language, but it imprints your soul with certainty, and like the star field, it touches the center of your buried awareness. But again, you can’t explain the unexplainable.

I had to violate the rules to be on deck so high, so late. Had to walk past the velvet rope while pretending not to read the sign, and with each step up I expected to be stopped. But I know you sometimes have to be in the wrong place to discover the right things. This was my moment, but I highly recommend if you ever find yourself on the top deck of a cruise ship on a clear night, that you take the time to look up. Or if you’re in a country field, or atop a mountain, or anywhere alone with only the darkness and a clear view… You’ll know it when you see it – you can’t possibly miss it, but you have to see it for yourself.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.

“I know it was real.”

Having just watched the film Heaven Is For Real, I was reminded of a conversation I had many years ago with a man who had his own near death experience. At the time, such things just seemed preposterous to me, and I’m now a little ashamed to admit that I was less than kind as I incessantly grilled him. I’ve forgotten most of what he claimed, but amazingly, this film seemed to unlock some of the details, and foremost among them were the words “I know it was real.” I can see him say them; picture the look in his eyes and the angst he was experiencing over my disbelief – an outright rejection with which he was probably accustomed.

Nevertheless, he was completely convinced that every second of the incident was accurate and profoundly true. Nothing could shake or even temper his faith – he knew “it was real.” As I said, I’ve forgotten most of the details, but I clearly remember that he claimed to have visited what he assumed was heaven and that he met several deceased family members; some who had passed before he was born. I also remember that his time was brief there and that he knew he would be revived and returned to the living.

There’s not much you can make of such a tale, especially since these days science offers many convincing explanations that would quickly label the experience an honest hallucination. But the fact is that he had indeed died on an operating table and was gone for several minutes due to an unsuspected issue with the anesthesia. God only knows the kinds of dreamlike thoughts that might occur under anesthesia, and how can we possibly be certain the so-called NDE coincided with the actual moments of temporary death?

My own “NDE” was a total non-event. In fact, my description of flatlining was that of complete and utter nothingness. Since I was not under anesthesia, it does seem very convincing that his “hallucination” was the result of mind altering drugs, while I experienced the real thing. Regardless, I have stated before on this blog that I was aware of my nothingness – a much more difficult experience to describe than a trip through heaven with the family. And yet, no one questions my story. For the most part, people listen intently and then go on about their business. In fact, I have yet to hear a single expression of doubt from anyone, and most people find it interesting.

I guess it’s just easier to see the expressive near death experience as an explainable occurrence based on the right amounts of imagination, brain activity, and drugs. Typically, many of us prefer our real life to be understandable and wholly predictable. Anything else is just too far out for acceptance, and almost any natural explanation is more tolerable than something other-worldly. But “I know it was real,” he said – clear as a bell, and full of confidence, and now, ten thousand EVP later, I find it almost impossible to doubt a single word of the story.

Surely, if I can listen to EVP voices from beyond the veil, the idea of an NDE that can be cogently described is not so farfetched. The notion that we are occasionally chosen to gain momentary and limited access to the next plane seems like an obvious no-brainer to me now, and I owe that guy an apology, I think. But no amount of disbelief from others could alter his resolve then, so I would guess he still stridently believes. Time doesn’t seem to remove the life-altering impact of a near death experience; I’m sure he still knows “it was real.” He’d better. I would think the dangers inherent in denying such a gift might be immense. I certainly wouldn’t do it – no matter how crazy it sounded. Would you?
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/ZBBmj Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller http://goo.gl/U6KY7 Available on Amazon.